SME’s offer a serious alternative, in some procurement situations, to the ‘big league’. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against SME’s winning work in far too many situations. Despite public sector claims that they have made it easier for SME’s to win work, it is not borne out by the evidence.
We have recently seen a Pre-Qualification-Questionnaire (PQQ) consisting of 70+ pages of questions. Whoever prepared it was oblivious to the actions risk presented by the supply of the services. Why were there six pages of questions about health and safety? It would have been difficult to imagine a lot more questions if the contract was to build a nuclear power station! Similarly, a multitude of questions about IT systems, IT security and related matters. There is a skill in tailoring PQQ to specific situations but this requires original thought and expertise. It is far easier to reissue PQQ’s – no imagination is required!
We are an SME, so we encounter all this first hand. Generally, SME’s are founded by individuals who have expert knowledge in a particular technology or in a specific area. They understand speculations and quality management, although some will be less versed in financial and contractual matters. There is a well proven technique called ‘supplier development’. It requires a purchaser to help the supplier because they’re more proficient in facets of their business. It also requires the purchaser to invest some time advising the supplier. Remember, the SME’s costs are lower, their overheads are lower and the service area they do not have to pay ‘partners’ £350,000 a year.
Can we help you?
We can help you to change your procurement strategy to accommodate SME’s. We can design PQQ (and tender documents) to meet specific circumstances. You can call us to discuss this and more, on 01744 20698.